Smith County Judges Meet To Discuss Jail Overpopulation

Some good news for Smith County judges.  Monday afternoon, both county and district judges met to discuss the jail overpopulation problem and learned they may be making a difference.   KLTV found out, Monday the number of inmates being transferred to other county jails has dropped from 211 in January of 2007 to 135 right now.

The judges feel it's partially due to new programs started last year.  The first, the Alternative Incarceration Program, which gives non-violent offenders a chance to work instead of serving jail time.  The second, is the Jail Expedited Case Court.

"We are trying to have people that are in jail, get their case to court quicker," said Smith County District 114th Court Judge Cynthia Kent.  "Either to have their case dismissed, or put on probation, or getting them their sentence and getting them to the penitentiary instead of sitting in jail for weeks, and months waiting to get to court."  Through the JECC program, the District Attorney's office has added another attorney to help move some of the cases through the system.  The judges say they are pleased with the progress, but know they still have a lot of work to do.

Molly Reuter, Reporting.